England tour will pose twin tests for Overtons
JAMIE and Craig Overton have been studying hard at home in Northam for A-level exams they will sit in Bangladesh.
The twins have been named in the England Under-19 squad for an eight-match trip, which coincides with a key stage of the academic year.
But with the support of West Buckland School, where they are sixth-form students, and the England and Wales Cricket Board, they will still be tested on their knowledge of physical education, chemistry and maths.
On the day the majority of the 15-man squad flies out – January 12 – the 17-year-old Overtons will sit a maths paper at a school near Heathrow.
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They will travel a day later to join up with the rest of the party in Bangladesh where they will combine net sessions with five examinations.
Jamie said: "We will probably sit them in embassies. It will be different but there are quite a few of us taking exams and we are all in the same boat."
It will not be the first time Jamie and Craig have been tested this winter, having passed through a training camp with flying colours in South Africa last month to earn their place in the smaller touring squad.
"We found out we were going to Bangladesh on the Friday before Christmas and everyone was very happy – it was an early present," said Jamie, a pace-bowling all-rounder.
"South Africa was really good. We were there for just under three weeks and lost the first two matches (against the North West first-class team) but won the last.
"We also netted with the England Test bowlers – Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Graham Onions and Chris Tremlett – and our coach said we didn't look out of place.
"I faced all of them and they were quite quick but they didn't get me out. They were all pretty good but the hardest to face was Onions – he was the quickest. I spoke to Broad about reverse swing and they were all very helpful."
While Jamie played in five one-day internationals against South Africa last summer, the tour to Bangladesh will be the first time he has played in the national side alongside his brother – a fellow all-rounder with North Devon, Devon and the Somerset second XI.
And both will have the chance to secure their place in the squad ahead of the Under-19 World Cup, to be held in Queensland, Australia, in August.
"Having Craig in the squad is just like playing for the club – we're always together so it doesn't feel any different," said Jamie. "It was a little bit weirder in the summer.
"We started (to build the World Cup squad) in the summer. Quite a few players from that series are still in the squad and we're all getting pretty close."
That unity was strengthened in South Africa by team-building events including dancing and karaoke competitions.
"In the dance-off I went out in the first round," said Jamie. "In the karaoke our group was quite good but only two teams went through and we were third."
If dancing and singing in front of an audience took the teenagers out of their comfort zone, that will stand them in good stead for this month's tour, which includes seven one-day internationals.
"I have only been to South Africa for cricket," said Jamie. "It will be a bit different in Bangladesh."
The Overtons will be tested in alien conditions – both at the crease and the exam desk.